Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Italian Springtime Salad with Fennel, Orange and Olives : 'Insalatina di finocchi, arancia e olive'

Here is a simple Italian salad recipe that I make at this time of the year.  This salad is so easy to make, full of fresh flavours, and will only take you 5 minutes to prepare.

In Italian it is called 'Insalatina di finocchi, arancia e olive' meaning 'Italian Fennel, Orange and Olive Salad'. It combines some wonderful flavours: fresh and crispy fennel, juicy sweetness of the orange, and the salty full flavour of local olives (black olives are best to use).
My own 'Insalatina di finocchi, arancia e olive'
using blood and local oranges, our own cured olives, plus locally grown fennel

½ - 1 fennel
2 oranges peeled (blood orange and / or navel oranges)
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (Sabina D.O.P.)
1 large handful of black olives, (gaeta, leccino, carboncella, suggested varieties)
Pinch of fine sea salt, to taste

Chop your fennel in long thin strips, along the grain of the fennel. Cut your juicy ripe peeled oranges into cubes. Add both the fennel and the orange pieces along with a handful of black olives into a bowl.  Drizzle over a healthy amount of olive oil ( please only use extra virgin olive oil, as it is the best!) and sprinkle over some salt, to taste. Mix all the ingredients together and serve chilled.

Please tell me what you think.

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Aglio, olio e peperoncino - Chef Guido's Classic Roman Pasta Dishes

Aglio, olio e peperoncino
This is the quickest pasta sauce to make and it tastes delicious. This is the classic Roman pasta dish I make for my family when I use what ingredients we already have in the cupboard. No need to go and shop, plus it is very fast to make. 
You can make it as hot as you like, just add or reduce the chilli you use.

Ingredients (serves 6): extra virgin olive oil, garlic, 2 garlic cloves, fresh chilli.

Method: Fry 2 bruised garlic cloves and a small fresh chilli in olive oil until the garlic is golden brown. Take out the garlic and mix the sauce in with cooked ‘aldente’ pasta. 

(Pasta shapes traditionally used: bucatini, spaghetti)

Dried Pasta: 80-100g per serving

Chef Guido's Tip: "top with a little fresh parsley"

Friday, 16 March 2018

Carbonara Pasta - fast, tasty Roman cuisine

Carbonara is a symbol of Rome’s cuisine and one of my favourite fast pasta dishes to make.
'Spaghetti alla carbonara' served with ground black pepper and topped with extra Guanciale

Ingredients: (serves 6)
50g of guanciale (cured pork cheek), 50 g of pecorino romano cheese, black pepper, 4 eggs, extra virgin olive oil.
Dried Pasta: 80-100g per serving

Method: Cut the guanciale into short sticks. Put a little olive oil in a pan and fry guanciale until crispy. Whisk the eggs in a bowl with pecorino cheese, black pepper and a pinch of salt. When pasta is cooked, drain the pasta, put it back in the hot pot and mix all the ingredients until the eggs acquire a creamy consistency, without scrambling. Serve immediately and with extra pepper on top.

Pasta shapes traditionally used for Carbonara are spaghetti or  rigatoni.

Chef Guido's Tips:
Tip 1: This sauce is very quick, and when ready needs to be stirred into the cooked 'aldente' spaghetti and served immediately.
Tip 2: If guanciale is not available you can use pancetta instead

If you like this recipe, please download Guido's FREE 5 minute Roman Pasta Recipe Booklet

Saturday, 3 March 2018

Immersed in Olives and Sabina Extra Virgin Olive Oil

The lives of my family and I are intertwined with the local Sabina extra virgin olive oil. We are not only surrounded by olive trees, we grow, harvest, take the olives to press to make our own extra virgin olive oil and make local cures using our own herbs mixed in olive oil...we also cure and eat our olives whole. Extra virgin olive oil is an essential ingredient in all my Italian cooking classes and Italian Culinary Holidays. In other words, we are immersed in olives and olive oil, inside and out!  Our local Sabina extra virgin olive oil often referred to as 'liquid gold' as it is recognised to have many healing properties. The olive itself is a symbol of peace and longevity, and it has often been used as a base for medicines because of its healing powers.
Visiting the 'L'Olivone', the Largest Olive Tree in Europe, is the first stop on your Rome Olive Tour
When in Rome.....come for a visit to the Sabine Hills with us to find out more about this amazing fruit, that has a long long history and is entwined with the local culture, here in the Roman countryside. I run Rome Olive Tours all year round. Rome Olive Tours with Convivio Rome

We have just added a Follow Us button onto this Blog....so please Follow Us to get the latest information, first!

Friday, 16 February 2018

How to cure olives, the Italian way

I've just finished the process of curing our own olives using the simplest local recipe from the Sabine Hills. It is so easy, that I wanted to share the local secrets on how to cure olives.

The olives (a 'carboncella' native Italian variety) collected from one of our trees back in December, were put inside a bowl, under layers of sea salt for 60 days.

Covered with large sea salt for 60 days

After rinsing off all the sea salt I left the olives to dry for 2 days on a cotton towel 

Then, I simply rinsed the olives and left them to dry on several cotton towels. I turned them every now and then to ensure they dried well.

I then chopped some orange peel and some garlic until I had a small handful of this mixture.

Finally, I put the cured olives in jars, mixing them with the orange peel and garlic and  finally covered them with our own olive oil. Fatto (done)!
Making sure all the olives are covered with extra virgin olive oil

PS: Nothing is ever wasted: for once all the olives are eaten, the olive oil from the jars can be re-used for dressing or cooking, with its wonderful flavour of orange and garlic.

Every Italian region have their own local recipes and methods on how to cure olives.

Let me know what way you cure olives as I would love to hear from you.

Convivio Rome conducts Rome Olive Tours, Italian Cooking Classes, 3 and 5 night Italian Culinary Vacations and Wine tours, all in the Sabine Hills, just north of Rome in Italy.

Friday, 9 February 2018

Amatriciana - Chef Guido's simple Roman Pasta Sauce

Amariciana, is named after Amatrice, a town that lies in the mountains of northern Lazio, famous for producing the finest guanciale (cured pork cheek). Amariciana is another one of my 'go to' Roman pasta sauce recipes, because it is simple, quick and full of flavour.

Ingredients (serves 6): 50g of guanciale (cured pork cheek), 50 g of pecorino romano, 1 can of peeled S.Marzano tomatoes (no added sugar), salt, black pepper, extra virgin olive oil.

Method: Cut the guanciale into short sticks. Put a little olive oil in a pan and fry guanciale until crispy. Put guanciale aside and cook tomatoes with a pinch of salt in the juice that’s left in the pan for 10 minutes. Add crispy guanciale at the end. Mix this sauce with cooked ‘aldente’ pasta and grated pecorino cheese. Serve with extra pecorino and plenty of black pepper.

(Pasta shapes traditionally used: bucatini, rigatoni, mezze maniche)
Dried Pasta: 80-100g per serving

Chef Guido is an eighth generation Roman, who runs Italian cooking classes  and Convivio Rome, with Sally, his Australian wife, in the beautiful Sabine Hills, just north of Rome. Italian Cooking Classes, Culinary Holidays and Olive Tours, plus Wine Tours.

Cooking Holidays and Day Tours  with Convivio Rome, are available all year round
For further information
www.conviviorome.com (cooking holidays, cooking classes and olive tours)
www.winetoursrome.com (wine tours)

Friday, 2 February 2018

Cacio e Pepe

A true Roman cuisine classic, the Cacio e Pepe sauce recipe has been my family's favourite for generations.  During our Italian cooking classes, many of our cooking guests request for this additional easy-to-make recipe. It is very quick to prepare and uses pecorino romano cheese as a base. This cheese immediately acquires a creamy consistency as soon it's mixed with a little boiling water from the pasta pot.

Chef Guido's Tip:
A popular finishing touch is a little lemon zest on each plate, to lighten the flavour.

Cacio e pepe sauce
Ingredients: 50 g of grated pecorino romano, black pepper, extra virgin olive oil, lemon zest.

In a bowl: make a sauce by mixing a little water from the boiling pasta with pecorino and black pepper, quickly stirring for a few seconds. Mix in sauce with cooked ‘aldente’ pasta. Serve with a little lemon zest on top.
(Pasta shapes traditionally used: spaghetti, rigatoni, mezze maniche)

Culinary Vacations and Day Italian Cooking Classes, 
plus Olive Tours: www.conviviorome.com
Half Day Rome Wine Tours: www.winetoursrome.com